In a world full of bad shit atleast music still kicks ass!
Another year have passed and the state of the world haven’t changed much, but one thing we can still count on is all the creative musicians who still get up in the morning and make some of the best music around.
As for my activity within More Fuzz and any social media at all I decided to take a step back halfway through 2021.
But now at the end of the year there’s no question, I gotta write a top list because in all honesty it’s so much fun.
Like last year I also made a separate small list of top albums outside of the fuzzy scene, definitely check those out as well.
And before you dive into my top I gotta give a R.I.P to Hans-Erik Dyvik Husby, more known as Hank Von Hell of Turbonegro which was a legendary frontman for balls out and punky rock n’ roll!
Now enjoy this quality list, if I’d say so myself.
Top 20 of 2021
20: Electric Moon meets Talea Jacta – Sabotar
FFO: Øresund Space Collective, Zone Six, The Spacious Mind, Papir, My Sleeping Karma
I didn’t hear this collaboration between the mighty Electric Moon and for me the unknown Talea Jacta until mid December.
It was mainly because I never got around to buying the vinyl/cd or listen to it at Sulatrons Youtube page but with the lack of a new EM studio album this year I eventually had to listen to this spacious album.
It’s not as intense as many EM records but it will definitely get your mind floating through space, part 3 is a real trip!
19: Jack Harlon & The Dead Crows – The Magnetic Ridge
FFO: All Them Witches, Across Tundras, Elephant Tree, Spaceslug
A brand new find for me this year despite them being reviewed before here at More Fuzz.
What caught my interest was their varied blend of psychedelic rock meets doom, stoner and a pinch of spaghetti western vibe.
A good trip with a lot of laidbackness and potent hits of heavyness.
18: Weedpecker – IV: The Stream Of Forgotten Thoughts
FFO: Elder, Somali Yacht Club, Jimi Hendrix, Tame Impala
When III came around it blew my mind and maybe my expectations was too high for IV: The Stream Of Forgotten Thoughts.
As you can see it didn’t meet it, but it’s not weird since Weedpecker had a major change in lineup.
But in reality the quality of the music hasn’t gone down, they just took a different path with shorter songs and while they lost their more proggy and jammy side the album got a more diverse feeling.
17: Motorpsycho – Kingdom Of Oblivion
FFO: King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Crippled Black Phoenix, Nektar, Mythic Sunship
Motorpsycho is the kind of band which is a hit and miss for me in regards to all the albums they put out.
But they really caught my attention here from the very first super groovy riff and overall melody on The Waning.
After it they serve us memorable songs full with catchy, at times proggy and often heavy hitting rock riffage.
Although the shorter songs doesn’t grab me as much with their calmer side all the long songs hit me so hard that I must overlook it and feel like Kingdom of Oblivion still deserves a spot on my list.
The Transmutation Of Cosmoctopus Lurker is especially amazing with it’s “Led Zeppelin going full prog mode” sound.
16: Stonekind – Spirit Of The Void
FFO: Sergeant Thunderhoof, The Age Of Truth, Demonauta
I reviewed the debut EP by these guys and when Spirit of the void came out it was no surprise it delivered the goods.
The quality of the song writing is still intact and you get heavy rock with bluesy passages and desert rock vibes.
15: Halfaya – Blunderblues
FFO: Black Rainbows, Deathchant, Borracho, The Atomic Bitchwax
I don’t even remember how I found this fuzzed out band from Argentina who kicks your ass for 40 minutes.
From the first track you will feel the high energy of a band hellbent to bring the glorious fuzz.
And if you’re getting ready for a party or just need a boost of positivity then this is what you should listen to.
Their decision to sing in spanish doesn’t hurt either, instead it only make em’ stand out.
14: Dust Mice – Earth III
FFO: Hawkwind, Ecstatic Vision, White Manna, Atomic Simao, Deep Space Destructors
This is one of the best space rock albums in the vein of Hawkwind which I’ve come across in recent years.
So if you haven’t already read my review of it then check it out here.
13: Sunnata – Burning In Heaven, Melting On Earth
FFO: Rezn, Red Scalp, Forming The Void, Vinnum Sabbathi
This was one of the earliest albums this year which caught my interest to the point of ordering the LP straight away.
Their brand of doom metal with oriental melodies and splashes of more intense riffage are beautiful.
You can’t really go wrong with their sound, the heavy riffs, dark vibes and vocals which add so much melody.
And God Emperor of Dune, I’m just waiting for someone to put it together with scenes from this years movie Dune.
12: Jakethehawk – Hinterlands
FFO: Elder, King Buffalo, Swan Valley Heights, Psychlona
Another amazing find this year which I reviewed way back in February, check it out here.
What you get is a psychedelic rock album full of heaviness, prog elements and beautiful guitar work.
11: Agusa – En Annan Värld
FFO: Blandbladen, Hills, Fläsket Brinner, Träd Gräs Och Stenar, Kebnekajse
Agusa brings you a folky progressive rock sound with roots in Swedens 70’s prog music which is easily recognized.
Here you get 2 songs above 20 minutes and I find em’ hard to describe, but it’s the kind of music you should sit down & relax and let your mind loose itself within the music.
What I love the most is the flute’s prominent role and the replay value where you find new moments with each spin.
10: Acid Magus – Wyrd Syster
FFO: Sergeant Thunderhoof, Lowrider, Jane’s Addiction
Did I expect a debut album of this quality to come from a couple of gents in South Africa? Not at all.
But this album has so much going on, you can hear the doom, the stoner vibes and the psychedelic rock guitar riffage which expand their sound and makes it so much more fun.
9: The Black Heart Death Cult – Sonic Mantras
FFO: Dead Meadow, Black Market Karma, Holy Wave, Vibravoid, Holy Monitor
A kickass album which I will be lazy and just quote some of my blurb I did for the Fuzzy Charts in March.
“Sonic Mantras is the second album by this awesome psychedelic rock band from Australia and what I really dig is the mystical vibe they conjure up with a warm bass tone and droney guitar riffs, the organ sounds also add another layer to the mysticism.
The sound is quite laidback and reminds me of the last Dead Meadow album, especially with the chosen vocal style and just like that album this is a perfect sound to chill outside on a sunny day.”
8: Elara Sunstreak Band – Vostok 1
FFO: King Buffalo, Weedpecker, Causa Sui, Robot God
“What we’re in for is 4 tracks clocking in at 16 to 20 minutes long and be ready for prog and psychedelia, which at one moment soothes your soul and the next takes you on an intense journey.
This is quite a young band but they come across as seasoned veterans when you listen to the long songs which make you feel like the guys have been jamming for years and truly honed their craft.”
Read my full review of Vostok 1 here.
7: 3rd Ear Experience – Danny Frankel’s 3rd Ear Experience
FFO: Øresund Space Collective, Sendelica, The Spacious Mind, Black Moon Circle
This album was the only album I reviewed during the later half of 2021, I simply couldn’t resist despite my break.
In my opinion Robbi Robb and his group of musicians are some of the best within the jammy psych rock scene and on this album they really reminded me why I fell in love with the band and you can read my review here.
6: Green Lung – Black Harvest
FFO: Black Sabbath, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Salem’s Bend, Coven
Another lazy quote of my own blurb from Octobers Fuzzy Charts where Green Lung got the most votes.
There’s no shortage of awesome riffage & guitar solos here just like in their debut Woodland Rites.
Here and there an organ comes in riding along the melodies played by the other guys and I think it changes the vibe between 70s rock and a more modern occult rock done by Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats.
Vocally Tom Templar also gives those Uncle Acid vibes but also is a bit reminiscent of Ozzy Osbourne’s holy voice.
What caught me most off guard though was the Type O Negative influence in the chorus of Graveyard Sun, a very well-done influence mixed into their sound which became the icing of a cake instead of sounding out of place.
While Green Lung keep the music alive and loud throughout the album it becomes all more special for the closer Born To A Dying World.
Here the beautiful calm parts give me a churchlike vibe and the heavier parts get all the more intense and together with a grand guitar solo this song couldn’t have been anything else than the albums closer.
5: Domkraft – Seeds
FFO: YOB, Monolord, Windhand, Conan, Hymn
These Swedes have put out great albums for a couple of years now and here I think they reached maximum impact.
It’s definitely the heaviest album on my list, even the doom slayer will feel his bones shake and the amount of psychedelia on the effect pedals are set to max.
The closest comparison to my 2020 list would be the band Hymn when it comes to heaviness and intensity, with the difference of Hymns sludgy sound and Domkraft going full doom.
Mr. Momo did a great review & interview with the guys.
4: Ulver – Hexahedron (Live At Henie Onstad Kunstsenter)
FFO: Manes, 80s synthwave, Sci-Fi movie soundtracks, Ozric Tentacles
Usually I don’t pick live albums but since this one was a commisioned piece from 2018 with all new music I though I’d let it slide.
Hexahedron has 5 tracks which essentially could be 2 long ones and you can hear parts which laid a foundation for songs which ended up on their last album called Flowers of Evil, although as short radio friendly tunes.
The first 3 tracks which I will describe as one starts as a spacy ambient piece with organ like sounds before percussion and electronics give of 80s synthwave feelings while the last 7 minutes add new melodies akin to noir vibes to finish of this trip.
One the 4th track the band resets and here it’s much more upbeat, dark sounding and it’s the only track with vocals.
Last up is the 19 minute The Long Way Home and this is where you lay back and let your mind drift away.
3: Stöner – Stoners Rule
FFO: Well, we all know by now how Brant Bjork of Kyuss fame sounds like.
This is definitely the album I’ve listened to the most this year and here Brant, Nick & Ryan hit the ball straight out of the park.
The production is perfect and the laidback groove which Brant has perfected is there in spades.
At one point I was thinking about why I love this one so much and realised that it really remind me of Brants album Gods & Goddesses which happen to be my favorite album of his next to Mankind Women.
Stoners Rule got the groove, the blues, good vibes and Tribe / Fly Girl brings the jam.
“Welcome to the age to get down, we found our sound” YEAH DUDE!
2: King Buffalo – Acheron
FFO: Pink Floyd, Elder, All Them Witches, Weedpecker
King Buffalo needs no introduction, their brand of psychedelic rock have amazed us since their inception.
In my opinion they have delivered great albums after the amazing Orion but this is definitely my favorite.
If you want a trippy yet relaxing time then this album has the perfect tempo and vibe, each amazing melody after the other.
And with each listen I find a new bass line, a new keyboard or guitar effect which elevate the psychedelic or prog feeling.
If you haven’t already then check out Mr. Stone’s review of it, I could never describe this sonic virtue as good as him.
1: Déhà – Ave Maria II
FFO: Esoteric, Skepticism, Slow, Evoken, Ahab, Thergothon
Let’s talk about the biggest surprise of my year, a funeral doom metal album which became my album of the year!
Who could have known? and it has never even been close because to me the best funeral doom bands are way past their prime.
But here came Déhà who usually goes more towards a mix of depressive black metal and droney post-rock on his albums.
Not to forget thought he have his funeral doom project called Slow which in it’s own right have some stellar albums.
But this time Déhà combined the sounds of his solo works, Slow and his past band Yhdarl who released the first Ave Maria album.
And while being a 43 minute track split in two parts, what makes Ave Maria II such an amazing experience?
It’s the sum of its parts, the slow and heavy riffs which integrate with the influence of the classical music he have brought.
Most prominently the soprano vocals by Madicken de Vries which blows my mind, she doesn’t overdo them but instead they have just the right amount of power to become as impactful as the instrumental part of the music.
And Déhà himself alters between desperate screams of agony and a clean chant like voice which compliment Madicken perfectly.
Overall this album is full of emotions, at times melancholic, often larger than life and at all times beautiful!
If this masterpiece would ever be performed live with a choir and orchestra then I can’t imagine it in anything else than a grand cathedral for the maximum experience.
Top 5 albums outside of the fuzzy scene
5: Hanging Garden – Skeleton Lake
FFO: Swallow The Sun, Hallatar, Draconian, Ghost Brigade, Counting Hours
Finland, the land of melancholic music have really made a sound of their own throughout the last decade or two.
This band plays melodic death/doom metal with some gothic influences and caught my ear in 2013 with At Every Door.
But Skeleton Garden is their first album since then which hooked itself into my brain with beautiful melodies and a good mix of harsh vocals and female clean vocals.
Even if you checked out my non fuzzy top for 2020 you probably don’t remember I had Counting Hours debut The Will on it.
With them and Hanging Garden being finnish you can definitely draw a comparison in sound and vibe.
But while Counting Hours had most of it’s sound rooted in the early days of Katatonia, Hanging Garden have more in common with the more melodic side of Swallow The Sun and Swedens own Draconian.
4: Tribulation – Where The Gloom Becomes Sound
FFO: Cloak, Horrendous, Venenum, In Solitude, Idle Hands
Tribulation started out as a death metal band with short songs which kicked your ass on their debut The Horror.
With their second album the songs became longer and beautifully atmospheric, but I wasn’t fully on board until I saw them live performing the songs which then became like a translike experience.
Since then their sound have gradually evolved with more influences from heavy metal, gothic metal and b/w horror movies.
But they have never lost their sense of otherwordly atmosphere, the melodic guitars which even at times sound inspirered by classical music makes it more accessible but they retain some of their past death metal vibe with the harsh vocals of Johannes.
3: Imminence – Heaven In Hiding
FFO: Architects, Underoath, While She Sleeps, Bring Me The Horizon (2010 and onwards)
There’s few bands within metalcore nowadays which sound fresh and really kicks major ass in my opinion.
But I found Imminence this year which are from my home country of Sweden and man do they kick ass!
The core sound can most definitely be connected with the big UK bands like Architects, While She Sleeps and BMTH.
But what sets them apart and make them unique is the singer & violinist Eddie Berg.
Eddie scream as good as the singers in the mentioned bands but his cleans add so much emotion to their sound.
And while the guitarists in the band chug out heavy riffs which make you bang your head, Eddie will come in with amazing violin parts at just the right time which adds depth and a sense of melancholy to their sound.
Listen to this from start to finish and focus on the lyrics and you’re gonna feel the red thread running throughout the album.
2: Spiritbox – Eternal Blue
FFO: Architects, Underoath, While She Sleeps, Bring Me The Horizon (2010 and onwards)
Another metalcore album which I actually was looking forward to immensely for a year.
Hailing from Canada, these guys have been releasing one awesome single after another since 2019 and really made a name for themself in that way during the pandemic instead of the usual way of touring.
And from the first time I saw the video for the ball buster Holy Roller in july 2020 I was hooked!
Just like I mentioned with my 3rd pick Imminence, the instrumental part of Spiritbox are comparable to the same group of FFO’s.
But this time it’s the singer Courtney LaPlante who blows my mind with her screaming and beautiful clean voice which she alters between so effortlessly, the only female singer I can compare her talent with is Tatiana Shmailyuk of Jinjer.
To hear the scope of their sound and experience the quality of their music videos I recommend a few of my favorite songs which is Hurt You, Secret Garden, Constance and Circle With Me.
1: Wardruna – Kvitravn
FFO: Heilung, Dzivia, Gealdýr, Munknörr, Rúnahild, Skáld
Wardruna have been one of my favorite bands for maybe 5 years and one could call their sound Norse Folk Music.
They take inspiration from the past and their viking heritage and play a modern interpretation of how the music could have sounded like during that era, and they play on instruments they’ve crafted after researching what kind of instruments was used.
Other sounds you might hear within the songs are small things like sticks hitting a tree, the sound of the wind or water in a stream.
Each track lets your mind drift off and getting lost in the beat of the drums and voice of Einar Selvik and Lindy Fay Hella.
Other instruments which add so much to the atmosphere are flutes, long horns and nyckelharpa which is like an early version of a violin.
This is for you if you’re into different kinds of music with a sense of shamanism and ancient civilizations!
Thanks for reading and have a great 2022!